It’s Just Semantics

Isn’t it amazing how powerful words can be? There are several words in our culture that are not allowed to be spoken on radio or television, and if they are used in a film, the rating system will state that such language may not be suitable for younger audiences. Yet, if you were to utter those same words in another land where English is not the common tongue, it would have little effect. It is all about our perception of words which give them power. Our words also shape and define how we see ourselves in the world. So, what if you were to change some of the words in your common vocabulary? How might that create a different perception? Here are a few ways to have fun with words and change how you view yourself.

  1. The next time you speak about an area of the body using the word “bad”, replace it with another word. For example, I often hear people who come to our studio speak of a body part as bad, “My left knee is my bad knee.” What do you mean it is bad? Has it broken the law? Why would you use the word bad? That knee has been with you all your life doing the best it can at any given moment. Perhaps it has been asked to do so much that it gets worn down and exhausted? Perhaps the only way it can tell you it is troubled is by letting you feel pain? Does that make the knee bad? What if your child is getting beat up everyday by the school bully? Would you call him bad? What if you were to replace the word “bad” with “needs help” or “is affected”? How might that change your perception of your knee?
  2. The same could be said of the word “exercise.” For many people, it has a negative connotation. It is often equated to arduous tasks, exhaustion and pain. Exercise is something everyone tells you “you have to do.” What if you were to substitute “exercise” for words like “move”, “movement”, “action”, or “motion”? “My doctor recommended that I move four to five days a week. My movement program is made up of ten challenging actions, but when I’m done I feel better.”
  3. Our body is a reflection of the life we live. So, exchange a body part with the word “life.” Seeing that our bodies and our lives are intertwined and cannot be disconnected these words should also be able to interchange with one another with ease. It may give you a little insight in to yourself. Give it a try the next time you talk to someone about your back, elbow, neck or wrist. Just replace the name of that body part with “my life” and see what that feels and sounds like. You might find that the reason that area of your body is in disarray is because of something in your life is in disarray.

Another practice that has been suggested to me by one of my mentors is to select the top ten words and phrases I use regularly and take them out of my vocabulary. I need to find other words to replace them. This has not been as easy as you might think but it has allowed me to create a change within myself that goes beyond semantics. It has caused me to break out of repetitive cycles and engage in new thoughts and activities. The power of words is truly amazing. Got a thesaurus?

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